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Students grieve classmate’s death

Posted: March 12, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 12, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Child psychologists, counselors and school staff helped Newhall Elementary School students this week cope with the death of a sixth-grader, officials said Friday.

Jennifer Montoya died March 6 from complications after she underwent surgery to repair a heart valve, Principal Tammi Rainville said.

Students sent cards and a poster to help support the family.

Death can be especially traumatic to children, Rainville said.

Sending cards and making sure students talk with teachers about death helps with the mourning process, she said.

Funeral services for Montoya were held Wednesday.

“(Counseling) is going on as needed,” Rainville said. “A group of young ladies who were close to (Montoya) have been participating in group activities to help them.”

Rainville sent a letter to parents March 7 with a pamphlet on how to help their children understand and cope with death.

In an e-mail to school staff, Rainville told teachers to keep an eye out for students who may need counseling.

“We can only comfort the Montoya family now by coming together and by letting them know that each and every one of us shares in their family’s grief,” Rainville wrote in the e-mail. “I will let them know that we are keeping them in our prayers now and that we will continue to do so.”


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